Joshua Kaindoh’s discombobulated recruitment story added another chapter Wednesday when Kaindoh’s mother Diane told InsideMdSports that she’s “heartbroken” over her son’s decommitment.
"I support him because he is my son. [But] I'm hoping he will realize that Maryland is the best place for him because it is close to home, you don't have to sacrifice your education and you're going to be around your family and friends to support you," she said. "I'm hoping to God that he will [change his mind]."
The story is filled with eye-opening quotes, perhaps none more so than this one:
"I really can't say, because right now we're not even talking much ... It's kind of hard because when Josh chose Maryland, I feel like he brought me in with him and then he just kind of left me there," she said. "I keep talking to him about the benefits. People see Josh as a footballer and I just see him as my son and education is my priority. I'm still trying to figure out why he changed. I don't know who has been [advising him]. I don't know what he's gotten into his head.
"I think Josh is humble, but being at IMG, with his teammates at IMG [being committed to bigger-name programs], he might feel like he is moving down."
This is the latest, and strangest, development in Kaindoh’s recruiting saga, which could definitely be pitched to some network producers somewhere. Here’s the rundown of events:
March 28: Kaindoh visits Maryland with five other IMG prospects.
April 20: Kaindoh releases a top four comprised entirely of schools that are not Maryland.
April 30: Kaindoh commits to Maryland anyway. Morale in College Park is booming. It’s later revealed that the idea to leave the Terps off that top four was a prank by Kaindoh and several other Terps commits.
May 24: Kaindoh and Cam Spence tell SB Nation’s Bud Elliott that they are trying to recruit other prospects to Maryland. Those prospect are blue-chippers, of course.
Interlude: Kaindoh loses a star in the 247Sports Composite rankings sometime during the summer, but regains it later. No drama with Maryland, though.
Oct. 18: Kaindoh tells The Diamondback’s Josh Schmidt that he’s “coming home” and planning to enroll a semester early at Maryland.
Nov. 23: Rumors begin to swirl that Kaindoh may flip, with Penn State seriously entering the mix. Kaindoh visits Penn State over Thanksgiving weekend.
Nov. 28: Kaindoh decommits from Maryland.
Dec. 7: Kaindoh’s mom voices her displeasure with said decommitment, while mentioning that the two have barely talked about it.
This latest turn is somewhat disconcerting. The realization that the members of Kaindoh’s family aren’t on the same page about all this raises more questions. Who’s closest with him? What’s driving his recruitment?
Somewhere in this string of questions—hopefully—is a subconscious reminder that Kaindoh is 17 years old, a high schooler making an extremely important decision, someone whose life really shouldn’t be under this microscope.
The Kaindoh saga reinforces two extremely important themes regarding recruiting. First, that every high-profile recruit has a million people in his ear. Kaindoh and every other recruit with more than a couple college offers has to deal with pitches from college coaches, high school coaches, current and prospective teammates, parents, close friends, distant friends, extended family members, bag men and random Twitter eggs. They can all pull in different directions, and any final decision may alienate some combination of them.
And second, that different players decide on different schools for different reasons. A whole lot of it depends on relationships with college coaches, but there are other factors as play. Some prospects want to play for the best team. Some want immediate playing time. Some want to attend a school with strong academics, or at least in the recruit’s field of interest. Some want to play for and learn from a particular coach, or team up with a friend or brother. Plenty simply clicked with someone on the staff. Others care about proximity to home, luxurious facilities, connections with certain brands, TV exposure, a school’s religious culture or a host of other things. All of these can be prioritized and weighted in countless rational ways, which lead to several different rational destinations.
Usually, when recruits decommit or flip, it’s because these priorities shifted, and there are plenty of potential causes there. They’re teenagers, and it’s not unheard of for teenagers to change fundamentally in the span of a year or so. Living in this type of spotlight and attending school several states from home, because of football, would probably contribute a little.
Recruits (and sometimes their family members) are public figures now; there isn’t much that can be done about that. Usually this notoriety doesn’t extend far beyond retweets and followers, but sometimes internal tension becomes an external discussion, and that’s always disheartening.
Kaindoh is set to announce his new decision on Jan. 1, and he’ll enroll a semester early at the school of his choice. That school could still be Maryland, but it’s a long shot. Either way, this will mark the end of a long and unnerving drama.